2020 will go down in history as the most disruptive year of our lives. COVID has accelerated changes in how we learn, work, socialize, travel, spend and save. COVD has not affected people equally. People in the hospitality and travel sectors have been especially hard hit. Rather than retreat from FIRE, we at Later2FIRE believe it’s more important than ever that everyone should resolve to take more control over their personal finances. It starts with understanding how and why we spend, digging out of debt and increasing savings rates (for more see our Quick Start Guide). Easy in principle, but for many, difficult to actually do.
That’s why we advocate that people join the FIRE community. It’s a great way to improve financial literacy, learn how to talk about money, plan, and receive support. There are many possible paths to take on the road to financial independence. There is no “one size fits all” model. FIRE is more about mindset than income, privilege or age. Don’t be swayed by negative depictions of the most extreme behaviors. There is much to be gained and nothing to lose.
Now let’s look into the year in review from the Later2FIRE perspective.
Personal Highlights and Lowlights
- In July we rebranded FIREwalkers as Later2FIRE. We decided that our primary focus would be for people who are behind in saving for retirement and are looking for ways to catch up.
- In January I posted the results of a market prediction poll. 33% said the market would be up by more than 5%; 19% said 0 – 5%; 29% between -5% – 0; and 19% down more than -5%. Congratulations to the 33% who predicted greater than 5%!
- Resisted the urge to sell when the market was down over 30% in March. The DOW gained 11,627 points to 30,218 as of December 6. The YTD gain is 7.5%.
- Sold our Scottsdale house in January before the pandemic made selling more challenging.
- Moved into a new house in Trilogy at Vistancia. We love our house and the community. No regrets!
- Took up the game of pickleball which is a lot of fun! (See Learning to Play a New Game)
- Completed a home technology refresh: new router, PC and monitor. The new PC (Dell Inspiron 3880) is able to connect to a faster 5G network (the old one’s WiFi adapter could only see the 2.4 GHz network. The upload and download speeds are nearly double!
- We were unable to make any visits to the Bay Area to see family or to the University of Houston to meet our scholarship students.
- Our last dinner out in a restaurant occurred in March.
- We cancelled our month-long summer trip to eastern Canada to celebrate our 25th anniversary.
- FinCon 2020 Long Beach was cancelled.
- That all said, we enter 2021 with hope due to the arrival of multiple vaccines which offer our best chance of ending the pandemic.
- The number of newsletter subscribers has seemingly plateaued. The trend is downward.
- The most viewed newsletter was the January edition.
- The average number of opens for 2020 is down from 2019.
- Most popular newsletter item: Home at Last (no longer available to view)
- Twitter subscribers have grown from 630 to 831.All my growth is “organic”, i.e. I’m not employing tactics to artificially or rapidly grow my followers.
- My primary connection is with what’s called personal finance or money Twitter. And there’s a subset who are beer fans and regularly tweet about beer. Beer tweets are incredibly popular!
- My most popular Tweet
- 648 hours watched
- +56 subscribers
- 7,300 views
- Most views ever – The 6 Stages of Retirement – over 20,000 views which is an increase of 6,000 from 2019.
- The next most popular videos are my 3 part series on buying a bond and bond ladders.
- Here’s a link to my YouTube channel: Retire Hoppy YouTube
Most Popular Posts
Plans for 2021
- Reduce or possibly discontinue writing new posts (articles). Candidly speaking, creating posts is the most difficult thing and least favorite thing I do.
- Create more YouTube videos.
- Share copies of each YouTube presentation as a viewable document on the Later2FIRE website and in The Roundup newsletter.
- Attend FinCon 2021 which is to be held in Austin. Of course this is dependent on COVID.